Help in the Kitchen: allergy-free cooking

Avoiding Food Allergies

By Dave Reese

Montana Health Journal
For Miriam Katz, good health comes from the inside.

Katz is a nutritionist in Whitefish who wrote “Cooking up Good Vibrations,” a cookbook that offers recipes for gluten-free meals. That’s important for people who suffer celiac disease or who can’t have wheat, dairy or gluten products in their food.
Inspiration for the cookbook came from Katz, who has food allergies — something she discovered many years while eating everything she was allergic to — sugar, dairy and wheat products.

“I became aware that eating healthy did make a difference for me,” she said. “It made a huge difference in my health.”
Katz had looked to traditional medicine to help her find a solution to feeling poorly, but what she had to do was look inside: to her food consumption. “I realized Western medicine wasn’t where it was at, for me,” said Katz, who is a former chief dietitian at New York Medical Center. She is the nutritionist at the Jwalan Muktika School of Enlightenment in Whitefish.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Celiac disease is a digestive condition. Individuals with Celiac disease experience an immune reaction when eating gluten-containing products such as wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats. Gluten can also be found in medicines, vitamins and lip balms. According to JAMA, the immune reaction from gluten occurs in the small intestine damaging the villi and causing abdominal pain, bloating or diarrhea. The villi help the body absorb nutrients from food, so as the condition progresses, malnourishment occurs.

Diagnosing Celiac disease involves the measurement of several blood tests and may also require a small intestine biopsy through an endoscopy procedure, according to JAMA.

There is no cure for Celiac disease but you can manage your symptoms by incorporating a gluten-free diet into your lifestyle.
Some people can’t go into restaurants where wheat has been used, Katz said, and that’s why the Green Tea House — which is operated in conjunction with Jwalan Muktika School — is all gluten free.

The Jwalan Muktika School focuses on health and wellness, spiritual development and a continuing connection to the environment.
Katz has now begun a program at the Jwalan Muktika School that integrates her experience in nutrition with some aspects of traditional Western medicine.
“It’s ok to integrate both,” she said. “Some times things get to where Western medicine has to fix it. Food can’t heal everything, but it can make a difference.”
Six years ago she started on a gluten-free diet and she can now eat foods she didn’t eat before. “When you eat more healthy and in balance, you are more balanced and more spiritually connected,” she said. “It’s the basis for a more balanced life. And you’ll feel better emotionally.”

Katz works personally with clients who need a wellness plan tailored around their nutrition.
Some people she works with have to remain strictly within their allergy-free diets, while others can eat a few things outside their allergy-free diet and still feel alright. Even if 20 percent of your food is outside your diet, “your body will still be in balance,” she said.
Many restaurants now cater to people who have food allergies, but sometimes it’s a good idea to call ahead to find out what accommodations restaurants can make for your food allergy. “It’s easy to eat out, but you just have to be aware,” Katz said.
“The shifting in consciousness around food is getting huge,” she added. “It’s even starting to influence people in other walks of life.”

Some businesses now base their products or services on helping people with food allergies.

The “Sweet No Wheat” bakery in Whitefish offers a variety of gluten-free baked goods.
Katz said there are many people who feel poorly but don’t know they have food allergies. She said about 10 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease and is not aware of it.

In her work, Katz has found that a client’s change toward an allergy-free diet often coincides with big changes somewhere else in their lives — such as a move toward greater spiritual awareness and attention to alternative healing techniques. “There’s an emotional component to healing illness. You can’t just treat the condition,” she said. “Everyone has their own path.”
Katz compiled hundreds of recipes for her cookbook. But she didn’t just write it for others, she said. “I wrote the book because I love to cook.”


 Fall Menu Items:

corn muffins


 Corn Muffins 

The nutty flavor of quinoa goes well with corn’s natural sweetness in these tasty muffins. If quinoa flour is not available, blend quinoa grain in a blender until it becomes flour. It is best to use a nonstick muffin tin. Gluten-free flours tend to stick more easily.



1 cup quinoa flour 

1 cup cornmeal 

2 teaspoons baking powder 

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda 

1 teaspoon sea salt 

1⁄2 cup agave nectar or honey

 6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1 cup almond milk 

2 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Oil a nonstick muffin tin.
  2. In large mixing bowl, mix quinoa flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In medium-size mixing bowl, mix agave nectar or honey, olive oil, almond milk and eggs.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Avoid over mixing.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin. Fill each cup 3⁄4 full. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into muffin center comes out clean.
  6. Remove muffins from tin and cool on wire rack. 7. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • Substitute blue corn flour for yellow. • Add 1 cup corn kernels and 1 chopped scallion to dry ingredients.


Spinach and Lentil Soup 

Your body will appreciate this full-bodied, robust soup as the days and evenings turn cooler.


SErvES 4

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1⁄2 cup chopped leeks 

1 cup celery, cut into 1⁄4-inch slices 

1 cup chopped carrots, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes 

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 3 teaspoons dried) 

1 teaspoon cumin powder 1⁄2 teaspoon allspice 

1 pinch red chili flakes

1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper 

1 Tablespoon Braggs Liquid AminosTM 

1 cup lentils (sorted, rinsed, and drained) 

6 cups water 

2 vegetable broth cubes (rapunzelTM brand recommended) 

2 bay leaves 

4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach or Swiss chard 

1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)


  1. Sauté leeks, celery, carrots, and ginger in olive oil until vegetables are glazed.
  2. Stir in rosemary, cumin, allspice, chili flakes, white pepper and Braggs Liquid AminosTM for a few seconds.
  3. Add lentils, 6 cups water, vegetable broth cubes and bay leaves. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, approximately 1 hour.
  4. Thin soup, if desired, by adding more water. 5. Add spinach or Swiss chard and simmer 5 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Remove bay leaves. 6.         Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley (if using).


Winter Meals:


Aduki Bean Burgers with Creamy Chipotle Sauce 


Aduki beans, also known as adzuki beans, have a deep smoky flavor. They strengthen the kidneys and create warmth in the body. Baked sweet potato wedges go well with these burgers.




11⁄2 cups dried aduki beans or 

3 cups cooked organic beans 

3 cups water 

1 vegetable broth cubes (rapunzelTM brand recommended) 

11⁄4 cups chopped carrots

11⁄4 cups chopped sweet potatoes or yams 

1⁄2 Tablespoon cumin 

1 Tablespoon coriander 

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon Braggs Liquid AminosTM 

1⁄2 teaspoon chipotle pepper or cayenne (use more for hotter taste) 

1 cup gluten free bread crumbs (blend slices of bread in blender) 

1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped fine 

1⁄2 cup brown rice flour 

5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Wash beans and place in large sauce pan. Add the water and vegetable broth cube. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to medium–low. Simmer until beans are tender, 1 - 11⁄2 hours. Let cool completely before processing. Pour ingredients into strainer to drain off liquid. *If using canned beans, eliminate step #1.
  2. Steam carrots and sweet potato or yams until tender, approximately 5 – 10 minutes. Set aside. Com- bine cumin, coriander, drained beans, sea salt, BraggsTM, chipotle pepper or cayenne powder in food processor. Process until ingredients are reduced to a paste, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Mixture will be thick and a little difficult to process.
  3. Place mixture in medium-size bowl. Add in bread crumbs.
  4. Mix in steamed carrots and sweet potatoes or yams using potato masher. Leave small chunks of the carrots and sweet potatoes. Stir in cilantro.
  5. Spread olive oil in large fry pan. Bring to medium-high heat.
  6. Place brown rice flour on large plate. Form mixture into patties about 2 inches in diameter. Dip both sides in rice flour and fry on each side in olive oil 3 – 4 minutes or until browned.
  7. Serve warm with a dollop of creamy chipotle sauce (recipe follows).


Creamy chipotle sauce

MAkES 11⁄4 Cup

1 cup VegenaiseTM 2 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice 1⁄2 teaspoon chipotle pepper pow- der (add more for hotter flavor) 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix all ingredients in a medium-size bowl and serve with aduki bean patties.


Sweet Potato Wedges 

These are a good substitute for french fries and are an excellent accompaniment with breaded fish fillets and aduki bean burgers.



4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

3 medium sweet potatoes or yams, cut into wedges the size of French fries 

1 teaspoon sea salt 

1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place sweet potato wedges in large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil until all wedges are well-coated.
  3. Oil a large baking sheet with olive oil. Spread wedges onto cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Turn wedges over and bake 15 minutes more or until lightly browned on both sides and can be pierced with a fork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss wedges and serve.


  • For spicy baked wedges: Mix 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, 3 teaspoons Braggs Liquid AminosTM and 4 Tablespoons olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Toss with sliced sweet potatoes and cook according to directions above.
  • Toss sweet potatoes in 4 Tablespoons olive oil and bake as directed above. When done, sprinkle with a combination of 1 Tablespoon sea salt, 1 Tablespoon ground fennel and 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne.




Curried Pumpkin Soup with Coconut milk

The curry adds a kick to this creamy, rich soup.
SErvES 4 - 6
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
1⁄2 cup leeks, chopped 
1⁄2 cup carrots, chopped 
1⁄2 cup celery, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder 
11⁄2 cups water 
2 vegetable broth cubes (rapunzelTM brand recommended)
2 cups fresh or canned pumpkin purée 
1 cup “lite” coconut milk

1. In large sauce pan over medium heat, sauté leeks, carrots, and celery in oil until leek softens and veg- etables are glazed. Add curry powder and sauté 1 minute.
2. Add water, vegetable cubes and pumpkin purée to vegetable mixture.
3. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 15 minutes or until carrots and celery are ten- der. Mix well.
4. Stir in coconut milk and simmer 5 minutes. 5. Purée with hand blender or food processor. 6. Add more coconut milk if a thinner consistency is desired.

VARIATION • Substitute any squash purée for pumpkin purée.

 squash soup 







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